Marciano is a legendary figure in boxing, and that’s why it’s wild to remember that he didn’t even enter the sport until the age of 25. Subsequently, he’d go on to become the heavyweight champion of the world and the only heavyweight champ to retire unbeaten. His reign would continue until he was 32.
Marciano was known for his ferocious fighting style as well as his brutal knockout power. Compared to many of his contemporaries, he had a ridiculously durable chin and also a knockout rate of nearly 90%. Now regarded as one of the greatest of all-time, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Most athletes peak in their late twenties and early thirties, but now and again, somebody comes along who just totally bucks that trend. That’s where Johnson comes into the equation. Usually, a man of his size wouldn’t prosper as a baseball pitcher, but Johnson blossomed and competed in the MLB for 22 seasons.
First of all, Johnson didn’t make it to the Majors until the age of 25. That’s quite late but it actually helped him perfect his game. The former Mariners star had a pitching speed of 100 mph. Incidentally, this 6′ 10″ giant played until the age of 46 and is now a Hall of Famer.
2019 was definitely the year of Megan Rapinoe. Of course, it’s not totally true to say it that she’s a late bloomer in terms of talent, but you could definitely say so about her fame. The 34-year-old captained the USWNT to World Cup glory, and as a result, became an international sports icon.
Her bright purple hair and fearless attitude towards the political issues of the day, combined with her abilities on the pitch certainly made her stand out. It seems like Rapinoe’s fame is here to stay, even though it came in the twilight of her athletic career. The two-time World Cup winner also took home the Golden Ball award this year.
It’s crazy to think that Duncan always wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. Instead, he became an elite basketball player. Duncan hailed from Saint Croix in the Virgin Islands and spent his early years trying to become a top US competitor. But then Hurricane Hugo came along and destroyed his team’s pool.
Most people would probably give up then, but not Duncan. He turned to basketball in high school and would go on to grow nine inches. Next, he’d win Player of the Year during his senior year at Wake Forest. As a result, Duncan was signed by the San Antonio Spurs. He is regarded as arguably the greatest power forward in NBA history.
If you know anything about Kurt Warner, you won’t be surprised he’s considered the greatest undrafted NFL player of all-time. His late bloom is a classic story in football history. First of all, he was passed over in the draft in 1994. Later, he’d play in the Arena Football League. Finally, in 1998 he got his chance with the St. Louis Rams.
Warner was third string for a year, so he’d never have expected what happened next. When Rams starting quarterback Trent Green got injured in the preseason before the 1999 year, Warner was there to save the day. He would go on to throw 41 TDS and 4,353 yards while helping the Rams to win Super Bowl XXIV. As a result, he’d pick up both the league MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards at 28 years old.
The WBC heavyweight champion of the world only entered the sport of boxing because of his daughter. Wilder started boxing when he was 20 years old and would go on to become an Olympic bronze medalist. In 2015, the Alabama native became the first American heavyweight champion in nine years, so he’s definitely worthy of a place on this list.
“The Bronze Bomber” looks set to fight Tyson Fury in a rematch if he can get past the dangerous threat of Luis Ortiz first. With 40 knockout wins in 42 fights, he’s probably the most frightening power puncher on the planet today. Above all, Wilder’s career proves good things can come late.